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Trifid Nebula

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Trifid Nebula - Image of the central region of the Trifid Nebula (M20 in the Messier Catalogue) taken by the Gemini North 8-meter Telescope on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, June 5, 2002. Located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the beautiful nebula is a much-photographed, dynamic cloud of gas and dust where stars are being born. One of the massive stars at the nebula's center was born approximately 100,000 years ago. The nebula's distance from the Solar System remains in dispute, but it is generally agreed to be somewhere between 2,200 to 9,000 light years away.

Credit: Gemini Observatory / GMOS Image

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Pluto

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Pluto - Image of Pluto taken by Gemini North 8-meter Telescope on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai, June 5, 2002. Pluto is generally the most distant planet from the Sun (6 billion kilometers from Earth) and is the smallest of the nine major planets in the Solar System - in fact, it is smaller than the Earth's Moon. A strange planet, Pluto's orbit is highly eccentric, sometimes coming closer to the Sun than Neptune. Pluto rotates in the opposite direction from most of the other planets, and the plane of Pluto's equator is at almost right angles to the plane of its orbit. Pluto has one moon, called Charon.

Credit: Gemini Observatory / GMOS Image

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Inset - Pluto and moon Charon are shown in this sequence of four infrared images obtained on different nights during June 1999 at Gemini North, utilizing the University of Hawaii's infrared camera QUIRC and adaptive optics (AO) system, Hokupa'a. Charon orbits Pluto every 6.4 days at a distance of 20,000 km. Pluto and Charon rotate synchronously, which means they both keep the same face towards each other at all times.

Credit: Gemini Observatory / University of Hawai'i Institute for Astronomy Adaptive Optics Group / National Science Foundation


Trifid Nebula with Winners

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Star Talk - Contest winners Harveen Dhaliwal, left, and Ingrid Braul talk to Gemini North Associate Director Dr. Jean-René Roy (whose image is projected above them) via a live teleconference between the Gemini North Base Facility Control Room in Hilo, Hawaii, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, B.C. In the background is Dr. Harvey Richer, Gemini Scientist for Canada, who initiated the Gemini Observatory essay contest for elementary students throughout British Columbia. (Photo by Kim Stallknecht)

Photo Credit: Gemini Observatory


Winners & Gemini North

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Universal Answers - Dr. Peter Newbury, Astronomer with the H.R. MacMillan Space Center in Vancouver, B.C., watches along with contest winners, nine-year-old Harveen Dhaliwal, left, and Ingrid Braul, 13, as Gemini North Associate Director Dr. Jean-René Roy and Gemini Fellow Dr. Kathy Roth answer questions on astronomy asked by Canadian elementary students before a Vancouver audience of more than 250 students, teachers and parents. The two Gemini Observatory astronomers, whose image from Hawaii is projected in the background, were able to participate in the awards ceremony via a live teleconference. (Photo by Kim Stallknecht)

Photo Credit: Gemini Observatory


Essay Contest Winners

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Stellar Students - Ingrid Braul, left, and Harveen Dhaliwal, stand before a huge image of the Trifid Nebula projected onto the wall of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Star Theatre planetarium. The Trifid image was presented to Ingrid by Gemini Observatory for her award-winning essay suggesting why she would like the Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to take a closer look at the nebula. Harveen was presented with a Gemini image of Pluto for her essay on the Ninth Planet. (Photo by Kim Stallknecht)

Photo Credit: Gemini Observatory


Peter Michaud / pmichaud@gemini.edu / June 20, 2002

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